The effects of a small molecule, the insecticide lindane, on unilamellar DMPC bilayers in the phase transition region, have been studied by means of differential scanning calorimetry and fluorescence spectroscopy. The calorimetric data show that increasing concentrations of lindane broaden the transition and lower the transition temperature, without changing the transition enthalpy significantly. Lindane therefore enhances the thermal fluctuations of the bilayer. The calorimetric data furthermore suggest that the bilayer structure is intact and not disrupted by even high concentrations (32 mol%) of lindane. Fluorescence spectroscopy was used to measure the passive permeability of unilamellar DMPC bilayers to Co2+ ions. The data show that lindane seals the bilayer for Co2+ penetration and that this effect increases with increasing lindane concentration. The results are discussed in relation to the effects on the permeability of other small molecules, e.g., anesthetics.